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After a meeting between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors on Friday, the committee decided to ban actor Will Smith from the Oscars and all related festivities for the next 10 years.
Smith’s infamous slap of comedian Chris Rock over a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia was deemed highly reprehensible by the court of public opinion.
The Academy issued a press release, as relayed by Variety, regarding their decision:
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.
“Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.
“We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.
“This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
Smith issued a response shortly after the decision.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith told a Page Six source.
OutKick’s Bobby Burack reported that the council decided to move up their meeting by 10 days to quell the mounting backlash against Smith.
During the 10-year ban, Smith will still be able to receive nominations and awards.
While members of the Academy were reportedly split on a decision, Friday’s move to ban Smith was certainly an immediate response to the outcry against him.
Smith issued an apology to Rock on Monday, March 28 after news and footage of the slap stirred serious condemnation.
From Oscar hosts to viewers at home, the actor’s tirade generated a collective call for accountability to be brought forward.
Minutes after the outburst, the Academy handed Will Smith his first Best Actor award for his role in the WarnerMedia-produced, King Richard.
The Academy has only banned five guests in the past, all permanently:
· Adam Kimmel, in 2021
· Roman Polanski, in 2018
· Bill Cosby, in 2018
· Harvey Weinstein, in 2017
· Carmine Cardini, in 2004
Given Hollywood’s sense of self-indulgence and cold-shouldering of reprehensible behavior by the elites, Smith’s return in a decade is sure to produce a standing ovation from his fellow performers.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela